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how to design sustainable interiors?

in sustainable design

Designing sustainable interiors is a responsibility we have towards the planet we live on as well as towards the next generations of humans. But it’s also an opportunity to become more resourceful, efficient, and conscious.

The question is how?
What follows is a review of routes that can be taken to achieve more sustainable interiors, as well as how anooi studio can help you on this journey.

have a clear plan

When designing a space, having a clear plan upfront saves plenty of time and resources down the line. A clear design plan is a defined and thought-through idea of what is to be achieved and how. This includes outlining the functions a space needs to serve, narrowing down a style, a cohesive colour palette… In short, it means taking as many decisions as possible on paper.

Outlining a clear plan on paper allows sorting out all indecisions before committing to actual site work and purchases, thus saving on eventual double work or impulse shopping. Once defined, the design plan will also be a long-term guideline to shop consciously, reducing the chance of bad purchases (which are a waste of money and resources). The idea is simple: what doesn’t fit in the plan simply won’t fit well in the space.

Working with an interior designer is obviously a huge help at this stage as it ensures the plan is truly complete and well-considered. And this is not just for big projects; even a smaller update in one room of a home will benefit from having a clear upfront plan!

for high-level design guidance: the design advice →
for a complete design plan: the full design →

Rendering of a bedroom interior.
Credit: anooi studio (from a recently completed project)

source responsibly

Achieving a sustainable interior clearly has a lot to do with the products and materials that are used in it. This opens a number of questions: what is that object made of? Who made it and where? How is it shipped? How can it be disposed of?

Choosing responsibly made items is not the easiest of tasks, which is why I decided to create riivin. Riivin is a platform entirely dedicated to sustainable interior design options. It includes a wide and growing selection of products (from furniture to lighting, textiles, finishes, and more…) coming both from established brands and from independent creators. The platform is fully independent and unsponsored, and part of the product selection is open and accessible for free!

browse through riivin’s independently curated product selection →

Preview of the product selection on
Credit: anooi studio

go second-hand

Purchasing new is not the only way of designing a space. Second-hand pieces are becoming an increasingly good choice for a number of reasons. They’re more affordable than their new counterparts, they make iconic designer pieces more accessible, they give access to less of a cookie-cutter look, and they’re often in very good condition.

Materials can be repurposed from previous projects or recovered from offcuts and leftovers. Pre-loved pieces can be found in marketplaces that specialize in second-hand, and some brands are starting to offer pre-loved pieces through their own channels – both options are covered on riivin.

discover an overview of second-hand interior design marketplaces on riivin →

Preview of the second-hand options on
Credit: anooi studio

consider renting

Another – often overlooked – choice is renting. Renting doesn’t always make sense but it can be a smart choice. Think about seasonal items, special occasions, events, or even short-term moves. For professionals, renting is also an option for photoshoots, as it allows to curate detailed stylings and scenes with pieces that won’t get forgotten after the shot.

As for second-hand, design pieces can be rented from specialized marketplaces or from brands, as some are starting to give the option between purchasing and renting. On riivin, you’ll find both, organized by location.

discover an overview of rental interior design options on riivin →

Preview of the rental options on
Credit: anooi studio

shop consciously

However one chooses to shop (new, second-hand, renting…), achieving sustainable interiors calls for a conscious attitude towards shopping. This means being considerate and purchasing what is needed, stepping back from impulse buys and choices that won’t stand the test of time.

Importantly, a considerate attitude towards shopping is not to be seen as an unpleasant limitation. In fact, it usually results in less-but-better decisions, opting for pieces that perform better, are made to last, and are aesthetically more beautiful.

think about the end-of-life

A sustainable interior is one that will stand the test of time. But also one that won’t be a burden once its time is over. Thinking about the end-of-life starts in the first phase of a design project: the definition of a design plan. How to make sure materials can be reused if not damaged? Are non-reusable materials recyclable?

But thinking about the end-of-life isn’t just for professionals. How can the products we purchase be disposed of? Are they easy to recycle? Is the company taking them back? These are some of the questions to ask as consumers, and these aspects are included on riivin in each product overview, under the why is it more sustainable? section.

read through riivin’s product overviews →

Preview of a product overview on
Credit: anooi studio

To sum up, designing sustainable interiors means a lot of different things. Realistically, they cannot all be done all the time, but knowing them is an important beginning to become more conscious of the way we conceive our spaces, both as designers and as consumers. Sustainability is a journey we can all contribute to, and I hope my services at anooi studio will be helpful and guide you on your personal journey!

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